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Poster: DeadATL Date: Sep 30, 2010 9:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: How did the well-known couplings originate?

What is the origin of the Scarlet>Fire and China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider "couplings?" The songs obviously weren't written to be played together. So, is it a case that they happened to play them together and the band decided it was a good thing? Or, is there more to the story?

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Sep 30, 2010 11:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

Just looking at the subject one could answer correctly and say that most originated because we were horny.

That and the beer and/or scotch.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 30, 2010 1:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

You're putting me in mind of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine declare 90% of people "undatable" and Elaine wants to know, if so, how are all those people out there getting together? to which Jerry replies simply, "Alcohol."

Anyway. Today's China Rider from 1972 is a good example, it's beautiful.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Sep 30, 2010 2:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

I think both china cat and IKYR are very date-able tunes!

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Sep 30, 2010 2:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

http://images.easyart.com/i/prints/lg/7/1/71475.jpg

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 30, 2010 9:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

Good question that I don't know the answer to.

But I've been thinking about/listening to China Rider lately and consider the pairing - in idea and execution - a good example of the Dead's genius.

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Poster: truckin52073 Date: Sep 30, 2010 2:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

Speaking of couplings, Eyes>Estimated always made more sense to me than the other way around.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Sep 30, 2010 2:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

Really stellar performance of this on 11/05/79, eyes > est > frank

The eyes is fuckin loooong!

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Poster: Capt. Cook Date: Sep 30, 2010 10:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

Thye biggest factor is the Chord progressions that allow the band to go from one song to another - the transitions have to make sense in terms of changing Keys and Chords. I just a drummer, but some songs require different tunings and would not work as couplings.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Sep 30, 2010 2:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

Yeah. For Scarlet>Fire it's really simple; they're both in the same key (B)

For China>Rider the situation is a touch more complicated; China is in G while Rider is in D. But D and G are almost the same scale (they differ by a single note) so it's not that much more complicated. What's really innovative to me is the IDEA of playing I Know You Rider, a slow traditional-sounding song, at the tempo of China Cat Sunflower; how did they know that would work?!?! I guess they played it really fast in some of their early recordings of the song, so the tempo didn't come with the pairing, but it's still pretty cool that they thought of putting the songs together.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Sep 30, 2010 7:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

I'm not a musician (unless you count piano lessons as a kid and the usual effort to play guitar, wherein I mainly managed some bluegrass strumming) ... but what do you mean by tunings? Dumb question, I'm sure, but are there songs where they tune the guitars differently? Like, which ones, and how? Or do you mean keys, so that it's a matter of the progression?


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Poster: Incornsyucopia Date: Oct 1, 2010 9:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

Yeah, "tunings" is not actually accurate. Jerry and Bob never, as far I know, explored alternate tunings other than the tuning down of a single string that Jerry does on Live Dead's Dark Star for example. As Capt. Cook and Midnight Carousel have pointed out a lot of it has to do with key relationships. Both Scarlet and Fire center around B, although besides the move to the F# major chord in Scarlet (appearing in the bridge with the line "I ain't often right
but I've never been wrong"), it's a B mixolydian (the 5th mode of E major so: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A) mode rather than B major that would instead have an A#. Since they share the same modality transitioning between them is quite easy. Actually I've heard at least one example with Bruce (from 1991 I believe: anyone know which show?) in which they go Scarlet>Victim or the Crime>Fire. This just continues this same idea as Victim is also fairly strongly centered around B although the modality is pretty obscured.

China>Rider is a little trickier. The verses of China are in G but again it's mixolydian not major as the chords are G, F and C. What's so interesting about the song however is that in the instrumental interludes they then move to D mixo. This works as a transition to Rider as this is the modality it's in, with the exception of the F major chord that appears towards the end of the form. Back to China, after moving to D after the second verse they then move up a whole step to E mixo. for 12 bars (where Jerry paraphrases the melody) and then drop down a fourth to B mixo. for 4 bars before dropping down to G mixo. for the 3rd verse.

The Eyes>Estimated (or vice versa) has been mentioned as these two tunes were also paired up a lot. The connection between them is that they both for the most part have 4 sharps: Eyes is in E major (or modally ionian); Estimated is in F# minor strongly suggesting the dorian mode. The notes used are the same the only difference is which note is given weight as the central pitch.

Hope that helps

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Poster: CharlieMiller Date: Oct 1, 2010 8:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How did the well-known couplings originate?

Here's a funny story for ya:

4 years ago when I was working for Billy and Mickey, they were going over songs to play on the Rhythm Devils tour. China Cat Sunflower came up and Mickey said "yeah, let's play it". Then he said "what did we used to go into"? I laughed. They had been playing China > Rider since 1969. How can you forget that? He then said "was it Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad"? I had to pull out a disc to prove to him it was "I Know You Rider".

That's what happens when you do too many drugs :)

This post was modified by CharlieMiller on 2010-10-01 15:32:44